My father didn’t leave me any money. I didn’t get his height or his broad shoulders or even his pretty blue eyes. I’m sort of glad I didn’t get his hook nose, although I have to say I’m not really happy with the one I ended up with. And I breathe a sigh of relief whenever I think about how awful his deep chin-dimple would have looked on the sharp, pointy chin I inherited from my mother’s family.
In short, all I got from Dad – other than the gene for alcoholism – was his sense of humor.
In the immortal words of Robert Frost, “That has made all the difference.”
I get depressed quite often. Maybe more than the average person. So sue me – It’s my divorce party and I’ll cry if I want to. But when I’m done crying, I have to find things to laugh at. Sometimes, I laugh while I’m still crying, which is sort of messy and tends to make people eye me warily, as though questioning whether or not they should start Googling phone numbers for the nearest distributor of straight-jackets.
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
— Kurt Vonnegut
My search for a place to live has been a mess. It has become something my soon-to-be-ex-husband would refer to as a Goat Rodeo, which is apparently only a step or two removed from being a complete and total Cluster Fuck. At the rate things are going, I fully expect to enter all-out Cluster Fuck territory any day now.
I made an offer on the perfect house. And by “perfect” I mean “enough bedrooms, great location, within my price range, needs some work, has a creepy pet cemetery in the back yard.” I waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. I then called a different Realtor – a smart woman with whom I graduated – and followed her advice. I made another offer directly to the Seller’s Agent . . . who hemmed and hawed and made excuses about why the bank wasn’t responding.
Meanwhile, the house went up for auction.
I looked at another house, which was described as having renovations that were “85% complete”. It had a gorgeous layout, including a built-in greenhouse window in the kitchen and a set of French doors leading from the Master Bedroom out onto a deck. It also had garbage piled up throughout, holes in the floors and walls, no bathtubs or toilets or kitchen cabinets, and ivy growing on an inside wall. The big red “Condemmed” notice on the front door was a bit of a surprise, as was the raging river gushing through the basement.
Good thing I majored in English, because my poor math skills make it impossible for me to calculate where the “85% complete” factors into that particular equation.
In short, things are not going as well as I had hoped.
I can’t even find a three-bedroom house to rent. I’d settle for an apartment, but there are no three-bedroom apartments in a town this size. And forcing my children to change schools is not an option. I may end up finding a two-bedroom apartment and sleeping on a couch in the living room until my older children graduate. Not a pleasant alternative, but possibly my only alternative at this point.
I have cried so much in recent weeks that I just feel sort of . . . done. I can’t cry any more. So when I laugh at my housing problems, I am not in denial; I am not avoiding the situation; my amusement is not a sign that I am not taking this seriously. I am taking it seriously, believe me.
But come on – ivy on an inside wall?! A raging torrent of water in the basement of condemmed house, and some moron actually has the chutzpah to ask $20,000 for it? A Realtor who assured me that she understands that I have bad credit, no job, limited funds – and then sends me details on houses that cost upwards of $70,000?
I have to laugh. It is simply too preposterous not to laugh. If this situation isn’t funny, then it has to be tragic, and I just can’t do tragic right now. You know the old saying about how “someday we’ll all look back on this and laugh”? I can’t wait for someday. I have to laugh now.
It’s in my genes.
Not to sound ungrateful, Dad, but you couldn’t have just left me thirty grand instead?
Comedy is tragedy plus time.
— Carol Burnett